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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

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My wife sent me a video today that is moving around the internet. In watching it, it was a touching moment from a couple days ago where a little boy asks the pope if his father is in heaven. His father was an atheist but had all four of his kids baptized into the catholic faith.
I have had similar questions posed to me. I find and give comfort in the fact that while someone spent their life rejecting Christ’s gift of salvation and purpose, that we simply do not know if they come to Him before their passing. Like one of the other men on the crosses, I do know that any who cry out to Jesus, even in their final moments find eternity with Him.

However, this is not the answer the pope gave. The short answer was that even if the father never had the “gift of faith”, he did have his son’s baptized which means he was a good dad. He said only God knows who goes to heaven so if this man with a dad’s heart came face to face with God who has a dad’s heart, do you think that God would not let him come into heaven. The crowd yelled “no” and the pope said “Well, there’s your answer.”

My first response was to fact check the video. Here the pope is not speaking in English so I figured someone had added subtitles to make him say something he was not saying. I was saddened to find that this is not the case.

What the pope taught here is simply wrong and dangerous. Why? Because it is contradicts the Bible and if people believe it, they could completely miss heaven and a relationship with Jesus thinking that they are good and that’s what it takes.

Look at what the Bible says…..

“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10: 17-18

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Have you ever found a baby bird that had fallen from it’s nest and tried to nurse it to a healthy life? It’s possible but not easy.

Once the baby bird has lost it’s way, often times the mother bird abandons it to the elements, leaves it unprotected from predators, and suffers it to starve for provision.

It reminds me of a proverb in the Bible. Proverbs is a collection of sayings from King Solomon who had asked God for wisdom which is displayed in these eternal truths.

As I skimmed through Proverbs 27, I came across verse 8 that says….

“Like a bird that strays from it’s nest is a man who strays from his home.”

Often times, people find themselves feeling like they have fallen out of the nest. They are lost, exposed, and hurting with similar feelings to the baby bird fallen to the ground.

As I did a quick study of some of the reasons birds stray from their nest, it struck me that it’s similar of how people stray from home (a life with Christ).

Weather – Storms and unexpected wind currents often times will knock a young bird right out of it’s home in the same way the storms of this life can do to us. A move, job loss, family member passing, addiction and other challenges leave us feeling lost and beaten.

Inexperience – Juvenile birds making their first migration without the lead of a mature bird often times undershoot or overshoot their destinations. Sometimes, we too head boldly on a path without instruction, mentorship, or God’s map to find where He was leading us all along.

Wanderers – Some types of birds have been known to simply be wanderers and undertake destinations that are not within their normal environments. In the same way, we sometimes look for places that are not ours but it just seems the “grass is greener on the other side”. These situations can show up as marital affairs, shortcuts that lead to failure in the work place, or going against God’s ways to obtain something we want in the moment.

Whatever the reason, falling out of the “nest” leaves us feeling just as hungry, lonely, and abandoned as the infant robin alone on the ground. However, the good news is God does not abandon us there like a mama bird does to her young. He is just a whisper away willing to offer you forgiveness, direction and provision when you lean back into Him to find mercy and grace abounds!

In Matthew 23: 37, Jesus refers to himself as a mother hen who longs to gather her chicks (you and me) under her wings (for protection, love, and care) but that often times, we are unwilling.

Will you choose to not “stray” but “stay” with the Lord? Trust me, it’s much better in the nest.

Pastor Tom Hypes
theshepherdsfellowship.org

(If you have a topic you would like Pastor Tom to blog about, feel free to drop all ideas to tom@theshepherdsfellowship.org)

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Are you going through a tough time right now? Does it seem while others have been celebrating a new start in a new year, you carry the same weight as you did last week?

Our troubles have all different details to them but in many cases, they have similar underlining themes – loneliness, finances, rejection, and at times … others are choosing to cause us hurt and harm.

David found himself in this kind of situation in I Samuel 23. In a season where the king, Saul was jealous and threatened; David found himself on the run for his life. Even though he was anointed by God to be the replacement of Saul someday, he did not want to do so by his own hand so he hid during this season of oppression and hurt.

While he was hiding, those around him saw an opportunity to put themselves in good graces with the boss by stabbing David in the back (Ever happen in your office?). They went to the King and offered to bring David to him.

During this time, David wrote a Maskil. We call it Psalm 54 in the Bible.

This is how it goes…

“O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen against me;ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them.


With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; 
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.”

There our several things I love about David’s worship.

– He has no problem being honest about his hurt, pain, and struggles before God.

– He claims truths about God and states them. When he does, we see his focus moves from the circumstances to God.

– Then he busts into praise through faith knowing that God has the victory (We can have the same in our own prayer/ worship times).

At the same time, this specific psalm has some key points that you might want to reflect on if you are going through some struggles and want to have the same deliverance and peace that David had.

This psalm assumes you are a follower of Christ. While this phrasing is a “church age” one since Jesus had not come yet in David’s time, it is evident that David was a follower of God. So much so that even though he too was a screw up at times, even God called him “one after my own heart”

Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? The One who is the way to God? The One who offers grace, love, and purpose? If not, you can become so today by acknowledging Jesus as leader in your life, believing in your heart that he forgives you through his death and resurrection, and then following him. For more on that, please touch base with me at tom@theshepherdsfellowship.org

This psalm assumes the struggle you are going through is the fault of others who have evil intent. Our struggles are not always the fault of others. It can be our own bad choices. It can be a season God is leading us through to grow or discipline us through. Spend some time examining the cause so you know how to pray and act through them.

This psalm assumes you are leaning into the Lord for the solution. You can’t say a quick prayer and then go out swinging trying to get your way. Sometimes we need to give up our desire to get our way and submit before God and go His path.

This psalm assumes you are holding on to God’s promises. David was able to submit by holding onto the facts that God will end this issue, that God will deliver him from trouble, and that God will triumph. Are you holding onto these truths and following His lead to the fulfillment of them?

This psalm reminds us that the final outcome is not about us getting our way but to bring glory to and worship to God. The psalm ends with worship to what God has done and so will your story if you lean into Him today.

It may be a path but it is not a wall. You’re story continues today! What will the story look like tomorrow?

If we can help you in any way, please touch base with me or stop by and visit us at church. Blessings!

Pastor Tom Hypes
theshepherdsfellowship.org

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You’ve probaly heard it a million times…. “God loves you.”

You’ve probaly seen it at a football game or learned it as a kid… John 3:16

You can believe it to be true and still have feel you lost the awe, the wonder, and the passion of that love… that truth… and how it changes everything… or should…

Join us as we take a deep look at John 3:16 and the surronding verses from a fresh perspective! No cliches. No broad brush strokes. Just the truth and heart of a God who loves you so very much… no matter what.

As part of our study, we will be hosting a dear friend who will share about what God’s love means to him. He is leaning into a new life foundation while moving out from a struggle with drug addiction. Drug addiction and substance abuse is becoming a big problem in the states, if you are addicted or know someone who needs help, please visit this article about how to help someone suffering from substance abuse on Fist Step.

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In a day and age where many are sick and tired of “church” as they have known it… it gives new hope when we see Jesus was gets as upset about the same heart and attitudes in the temple in His physical life time.

As we continue the “All In” study series through the gospel of John on the teaching and life of Jesus, we come across a moment where He responds to the temples hyprocirsy, lack of love, and “buisness as usual” attitude in a zealous manner. Join us as we explore why by seeing what the Church is suppose to be verses some of the sickness we have seen around us and in our own lives.

Don’t get us wrong, there’s a lot of beauty in Church as God has designed it but in our humaness, we falter and Jesus is not silent on what we are to be and the beauty and passion when we do go for the “best stuff” as a community.

If “church” has let you down before, come see what possiblities still await you and the choices you can make to have community, purpose, and more!

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What happens when the joy of life runs out?

Where do you turn when the success you chased after leaves you feeling empty?

How do you move forward from disappointment, grief, or even church hurt that left you feeling drained?

We find there is so much more available to you as we explore the first of Jesus’ miracles where He changes mere water to the best wine ever served. This is not just a little story of Jesus having a moment that changed a wedding reception … this is a relevant lesson of His power that can change your life today!

If you are looking for more out of this life than you are getting so far, we pray you join us for this impactful study!

theshepherdsfellowship.org

(Special thanks to Shamrock Vineyard in Waldo, Ohio for thier help and donation for sermon illustrations for this week.)water

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When Jesus was speaking about John the Baptist, He said “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John.” (Luke 7:28)

What made John the Baptist so special? Is it simply some extra blessing that God put upon on Him or is it a life that you and I can choose ourselves today? Could it be possible that his choices and outlook are something we can adopt that can lead us to a greater way of living full of purpose and passion?

As we enter week two of our study in the gospel of John, we explore these questions as well as learn more about Jesus Himself …. the LIGHT and LIFE we desire.

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